4/23/09 – Yomiuri (Away)

April 23rd, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Yomiuri Giants 2

Streak: Lost 3   Last 5: WWLLL

(Fukuoka Yahoo Dome)

Masanori Ishikawa put in by far his finest performance of 2009 so far, but that wasn’t enough to save Tokyo from the sweep as the Giants took a late sayonara victory.

Ishikawa pitched 113 pitches in eight innings, giving up just the one run off four hits, striking out three and walking none for a no-decision.

Takada made two changes to the lineup, Takeuchi coming in in left and at leadoff for Fukuchi, who was obviously still feeling some effects from his fight with the outfield wall the night before. Takada also continues to try out other options at second, as Morioka started and batted in the no.7 slot.

Yakult had early chances to pull ahead off Yomiuri starter Tohno, putting men in scoring position in the both of the first two innings but left them stranded. The 1st inning provided perhaps the best chance, with a Takeuchi double and Kawashima sacbunt putting a man on third with one out. Unfortunately, Aoki then flew out to centre, too shallow to score the runner, before D’Antona struck out to end the inning.

Yomiuri pulled ahead in the bottom of the 4th. A two out Ranirez single followed by a Tani double that flew over the head of Guiel and to the wall, allowed Ramirez to waddle his way home from first. It should be noted that the throw home came in slightly to the right of the plate, but Aikawa was well positioned to meet the throw, and had he taken control of the ball he could have probably made the tag to his left for the out. Unfortunately, for the second night in a row, his handling was amiss, and as he lunged to the left to make the tag on Ramirez, the ball was lying harmlessly on the floor to his right. 1-0 Giants.

Ishikawa then pitched hitless 5th, 6th and 7th innings before Tokyo squared things up in the top of the 8th. Toyoda took the mound in relief of Tohno, and allowed a leadoff single from Takeuchi, who was then replaced by a pinch-runner in Fukuchi. During next man Kawashima’s at bat, Fukuchi stole second, his sixth steal of the year (he’s 6 for 6). Kawashima grounded out to second but managed to advance the runner to put a man on third with one out. In came Yamaguchi for Toyoda.  And as in the exact same situation in the 1st inning, up stepped Aoki, but unlike the earlier inning he got the job done. Aoki hit deep to right, and was deprived of a two-run homer by mere inches, but it was good enough to give him a double and score Fukuchi for 1-1.

Ishikawa gave up a double in the bottom of the 8th, but got out of the inning without a run scoring. Ochi pitched a hitless top of the 9th for Yomiuri and Oshimoto took the mound for the bottom of the inning (and Ihara came in to field in left).

A flyout, walk, another flyout and a Tani single put men on the corners with two outs. In came piggy-faced pinch hitter Abe, who hit one deep off the rightfield wall and it was sayonara 2-1 Final. Cue pig-boy doing a ridiculous run/dance into the shallow outfield and me switching off the TV and screaming obscenities at the world.

Ishikawa’s record remains at 2-1 with an ERA of 4.60. Wonderful outing for him tonight, and he looked more like the Masanori of last year.

Oshimoto took the loss, his second of the year, and his ERA is now at 3.857.

Both teams got six hits each in the game.

So that’s a sweep down in Kyushu for Tokyo. Tuesday’s game was down to Greisinger magnificence, but the last two games were very close indeed, and we can consider ourselves slightly unlucky to lose in both of them, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Yakult now have a home series at Jingu against Yokohama starting Friday evening.

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD’S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • I believe this was the 11th straight loss away to the Giants.

  • Rob

    Yes, there is consolation in that TYS is playing tough teams tough.
    Dancing around like that, though… it’s April, man.

  • Indeed, 11 straight losses to the Giants when we’re away. Tokyo’s last victory over the Giants on their turf was on July 1, 2008, when the Swallows won 7-4.

    In fact, Tokyo is 7-22 vs. Yomiuri so far in 2008 and 2009 combined.

  • Christopher

    allowed Ramirez to waddle his way home from first.

    It’s a long trip from watching Ramirez score an inside the field home run at the old Jingu.